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Area Veterans Will Pay Tribute to John Nanny Saturday at Wheeling Heritage Port

Apr 14 2023
Joselyn King | The Intelligencer

WHEELING – Area veterans on Saturday will honor a local highly respected Marine who did much for the Ohio Valley, West Virginia and America.

The Moundsville Veterans Honor Guard has organized an effort to place a pedestal honoring the late John Nanny near the Gold Star Family Memorial monument at Heritage Port in Wheeling.

The pedestal is set to be dedicated during a ceremony set for 2 p.m. on Saturday. U.S. Marine Major General Austin “Sparky” Renforth, a Wheeling native, will be keynote speaker.

Members of the honor guard were present at the Gold Star Family Memorial site at Heritage Port on Wednesday afternoon, and shined up the monument and surrounding area for the upcoming event.

Last year, the honor guard set out to raise $12,000 for a pedestal honoring Nanny, but it turned out the cost was less than expected, explained Stephen Duncil of the honor guard.

As such, the remaining dollars will be donated to the Woody Williams Foundation and its programs.

Duncil said it was the spirit of John Nanny himself that inspired the honor guard to want to place the pedestal in his honor.

“I don’t know where to begin,” Duncil said . “If you knew John…our main thing was wanting to keep his legacy alive.

“If not for him, this (the Gold Star Family Memorial monument) wouldn’t be here.”

World War II Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams personally charged Nanny with raising the funds to place the monument at Wheeling’s Heritage Port.

“He was the lead man, and he raised the money in six month,” added David Schoenian of the honor guard. “If not for him, this would have gotten done.” Nanny passed away Jan. 9, 2022, but not before living a life in which he centered his attention on others, Duncil and Schoenian said.

Nanny served in the Marine Corps from 1961-65, and attained the rank of corporal. He belonged to the Marine Corps League, and served as chairman of Hershel “Woody” Williams Scholarship Foundation.

He also was a member and past commander of Wheeling American Legion Post 1, and a member of VFW Post 4442.

Nanny worked as director of attendance and social services for Ohio County Schools, and founded Youth Services Inc. in Wheeling. Additionally, he was a founding member of National Youth Advocate Program and a member of the Youth Advocate Program International Board of Trustees. He was a past president of St. John’s Children’s Home, and a member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization of Wheeling.

“Whatever he did, it was not for him,” Duncil said. “It was always for others, or for an organization. We wanted him to never be forgotten.”